How to avoid employee monitoring cheating with WorkTime

March 4, 2024

10 min read

10 ways staff can cheat employee monitoring software & how to avoid it with WorkTime

WorkTime is time tracking software operating on the employee monitoring market for 20+ years. This solution does not infringe on employee privacy and cannot be easily tricked.

An increase in the usage of employee monitoring software facilitates the enforcement of regulations in remote work. According to a study, almost 80% of employers use such software to keep an eye on their staff’s work and online activities. Some managers (73%) have gone further and recorded emails, calls, or messages to judge their workers' performance. At the same time, certain employees have devised strategies to deceive time tracking software. Understanding the motivations behind employee behavior with regard to time tracking software is very important for every organization. What method employees use to suggest software tricks is an additional concern. Let’s dig deeper to understand why workers try to fool monitoring solutions and how to avoid it.

Why employers use time tracking software

Managers see if an employee needs help

If a professional takes a very long time to complete a task, they may be assigned an expert in that area or a more experienced team member to help.

Managers can more adequately assess the efforts of developers

Typically, decision-makers evaluate a person's work based on productivity, but this doesn’t apply to software development. A developer may spend hours on research before starting to write code. If these hours are recorded, it becomes easier to assess the actual efforts of the employee.

Time tracking helps management assess whether tasks are appropriate for experts

If a task takes too long to complete, changing an area of responsibility may make sense.

Management can accurately plan the cost of developing a particular feature

If managers see that experts need more time to develop a particular feature, they will consider allocating a more appropriate budget next time. For instance, an average US employee spends about 28% of their work hours processing emails. Thus, managers can realize that a special feature for working with emails would benefit the company.

Managers will see whether the task was planned correctly

If a professional spends more time on a task, such as a custom software solution, than expected, it's possible that the level of task complexity was not properly assessed. Next time, the deadlines will be adjusted. In fact, employee tracking tools even help to avoid gaps in wages. Businesses that utilize software with timekeeping and payroll features are 44% less likely to commit mistakes. Still, even those who understand these benefits might fool employee monitoring systems, especially when working remotely. So, why does it happen?

Why do employees trick monitoring systems?

In brief, they do that to avoid surveillance and penetration into their lives. However, there are more reasons behind this.

Too many activities to take care of at home

Employees may be required to perform household duties such as operating with television commotion, accepting guests, caring for children, or commuting to a nearby grocery store in the background while working distantly. Such distractions may cause employees to accomplish little, and this is where they must make amends. When workers encounter difficulties meeting deadlines, they frequently turn to unethical methods of deceiving time monitors to evade responsibility.

Lack of reliability

Most of the time, tracking tools offer ways to keep an eye on employees, like taking screenshots of their desktops and recording their keystrokes. When managers use these methods, it seems like they don't trust their workers with their jobs. People start to feel like they don't matter. Ultimately, they start cheating their companies by using certain tools to make false reports.

Pure procrastination

Some employees procrastinate to manage anxiety, while others merely waste time on screens. After spending time during the day, procrastinators have incomplete tasks and approaching deadlines. Time trackers can easily detect underperformance. Thus, procrastinators mislead this tech and their supervisors.


Sometimes, employees simply do not understand the reasons behind time tracking. This is up to employers to keep staff informed and the entire process clear. They should warn personnel about their intentions and provide guidelines if possible.

At WorkTime we support transparent, non-invasive employee time tracking. It is easy to explain how our tools work so that staff realizes the benefits of this type of software and decides not to cheat.

10 most common ways to trick time tracking software

Outsmarting employee monitoring apps is not a complex art to master. There are two sides to the coin. Using time tracking apps to one's advantage can be considered unethical by many individuals. At the same time, many feel it is essential to preserve one's privacy. If an employee uses staff monitoring software for personal reasons and finds it too limiting or invasive, it may be ethical to circumvent it. However, they must consider the possible repercussions. Outsmarting time tracking apps could be dishonest. So, how can employees fool monitoring software?

1. Applying a second monitor

The utilization of a dual-monitor system is something that a lot of employees find to be effective. Therefore, it is more convenient for them to have everything right in front of their eyes rather than repeatedly press the ALT+TAB keys to move windows. All work-related apps are open on the primary display. On the other screen, they're making purchases or messaging their friends.

How do I ever prevent it?

As an employer, it is important for you to select a dependable monitoring tool that is capable of tracking multi monitor configurations. In this way, your employees will have fewer opportunities to deceive you than they would otherwise.

WorkTime is designed to monitor multiple screens. There is no way personnel can trick it by adding more monitors.

2. Using mouse jiggling devices

Some people employ toys that run on batteries to automate mouse movements. Sounds funny and ridiculous, huh? When the tracking device connects to the mouse and lets the toy move it, it is fooled into thinking it’s sensing movement. The activity report is a clever ruse to trick the monitoring system, yet it looks like productivity. Another method is to utilize a mouse-jiggling device to trick computer monitoring software. Time tracker-avoiding gadgets are rather smart. They move the mouse pointer slowly like an invisible hand to appear active. Employees plug this tiny device into a USB connection to simulate screen movement. Reports suggest uninterrupted work, but it may be a TV or gaming marathon.

How do I ever prevent it?

Companies should seek time tracking software that incorporates activity monitoring. This enables businesses to observe the specific activities employees engage in on their computers, facilitating the detection of any attempts to manipulate the system.

WorkTime does include activity monitoring. With this tool, employers can easily measure staff productivity and detect any signs of manipulating the system. With WorkTime, one can notice when employees are away from their desk and take steps to prevent them from being late with their deadlines.

3. Clamping keys

This one may seem the most ridiculous yet still effective tricking method. Most employee monitoring solutions evaluate applications and effort. If an individual opens Word, for instance, the monitoring program will consider it productive. If the employee isn't actively working in the app for more than a minute, the system tracks that time as idle. Thus, if one places a cup (or some funny objectives like toys) on the Space key, their report will reflect limitless productivity.

How do I ever prevent it?

Basically, any system that captures footage or records a video of a worker's device can spot suspicious behavior. Some tools can be set up to alert managers automatically if any suspicious or odd activity occurs in normally productive apps.

WorkTime offers key clamping protection. Employers will be notified in case of any suspicious activity in job applications.

4. Falsifying timesheets

A lot of apps that track time let workers make changes by hand. When the tool records an employee's free time or an activity unrelated to work, staff can often change these records. Some tools can't tell the difference between time tracked automatically and time changed by hand, which makes it hard to tell the difference.

How do I ever prevent it?

By integrating features such as staff activity monitoring, businesses can precisely track the locations of employees and monitor their activities, providing a comprehensive view of their whereabouts and tasks.

WorkTime monitors applications and websites usage, as well as employee activity times when using the computer. You can always compare employee timesheets with WorkTime reports to detect any gaps.

5. Implementing red herring

Some people play games or watch fun videos while pretending to work on their monitors. They open a full-screen window to watch content, along with a work programme in the background. While watching their favorite TV series or taking on game quests, they may launch Google Docs, Excel, SEO tools, or CRM. A red herring in the second window will distract the monitoring tool and get it to notice activity. To prevent the real activity from showing up on the other screen, the employee will minimize that window.

How do I ever prevent it?

We recommend using a screen productivity report. This report protects employee privacy as it does not record any screen content. At the same time, it displays how much of the screen is productive/unproductive in percentage. For example, 70% of the screen is productive (MS Word) while 30% of the screen is unproductive (YouTube).

WorkTime offers such a screen productivity report where employers can see if any unproductive application or website is displayed on the employee screen. It allows them to further keep workers away from distractions.

6. Running a virtual machine (VM)

Using VMs, users are able to run many operating systems (OS) on a single computer. It is possible through software utilization. An employee could also utilize this arrangement to clock in on one OS and then move to another system in order to accomplish professional duties that are not billed to the individual.

How do I ever prevent it?

Try searching for VM software icons in the system tray or on the desktop for clues. Look for tiny windows with boundaries; this could be a sign of another OS trying to take over the screen. Create more cheat-proof personnel time monitoring systems.

WorkTime records time spent in a virtual machine. Too much VM on the employee screen is a bad sign, especially if using some other applications simultaneously.

7. Hiding processes from the time tracker

Staff can also conceal their work from the tracker, which is another method. They accomplish this by working on personal projects during work hours or by using a separate computer for work that is not logged. Both are viable options.

How do I ever prevent it?

In order to avoid this, enterprises should seek out time tracking software with attributes such as active and idle time monitoring. Thus, corporations will have the capability to monitor employees' activities even in the absence of active tracking.

WorkTime monitors both active and idle time per hour/day/week/month for every employee or department. You obtain real-time reports, allowing you to achieve higher staff productivity.

8. Deactivating the tool

Employees with advanced tech skills may try immobilizing the software completely, rendering activity monitoring impossible. For instance, remote workers might install antivirus software or firewalls that block the monitoring software from loading or functioning correctly. This can create the appearance of technical difficulties or internet connectivity issues from the employer's perspective. They may, in other circumstances, put their gadget in offline mode. The monitoring software will not be able to record activity or work hours if it does not enable offline time tracking. The employee is, therefore, required to submit a manual time entry.

How do I ever prevent it?

To mitigate such risks, businesses should seek tamper-proof time tracking software that cannot be easily uninstalled. Additionally, opting for a cloud-based solution ensures that it cannot be halted or deleted by employees, enhancing the security of the tracking system.

WorkTime cannot be easily uninstalled and will restart automatically if the process gets deactivated. You will notice empty reports.

9. Remote access

Some employees may simply set up the time tracker on their work personal computer (PC). A remote access client will be installed and connected to the second PC on this device. Online shopping, watching films, and playing games from now on count as productive according to the monitoring gadget. Time trackers consider remote access clients work-related.

How do I ever prevent it?

To mitigate this, organizations ought to seek out remote monitoring software specifically engineered for distant jobs. Employers will have the capability to monitor employee activities even when they are not physically present at the workplace.

With WorkTime, you can get insights into different distractions affecting your remote employees' productivity. Eliminate these distractions to foster a more productive work environment.

10. Modifying the code

Now, that is not for everyone. Only tech-savvy professionals can manipulate a monitoring app's code to track specific behaviors. The task is difficult but possible. If you notice such manipulation in your firm, contact the monitoring software’s support team, as it requires a complicated solution. So, ensure your time-tracking software offers good customer service (like the one you may get from WorkTime).

How do I ever prevent it?

It is highly recommended to employ a time tracker with robust encryption. For instance, Rijndael CBC 256-bit encryption, which is military-grade, prevents data manipulation. The system is hackable but would require a significant investment of resources, nerves, and advanced tech.

WorkTime guarantees high data safety standards. It uses AES-256 encryption. AES-256 is the most secure protocol - data cannot be encrypted unless the code is known.

Effective time tracking tips to prevent employees from cheating

We have already mentioned several common solutions. Still, we decided to provide a summary of all hints that can assist you with keeping your employees away from cheating time monitoring software.

Start with excluding surveillance and too much invasion. Employees will be satisfied with a time tracker that adheres to a 0-surveillance policy, as it will only monitor their work activity. Managers will obtain all the performance-related info they require pertaining to work. Without real-time monitoring, the necessity to deceive time tracking software becomes superfluous.

• Promote collaboration and teamwork. Cultivate a spirit of camaraderie among remote workers through team-building initiatives and collaborative projects. This fosters an atmosphere where employees contribute to each other's input. • Make time logging as easy as possible. The flexibility to disclose work records at your own discretion provides employees with a sense of trust, so they don’t want to cheat time tracking software. Workers are able to concentrate more effectively because they aren't being watched by their supervisors all the time. • Define explicit expectations. Effectively convey your requirements concerning KPIs, working hours, and performance benchmarks. Establish precise objectives and deadlines to ensure accountability among employees. • Offer easier tracking. To track their core working hours, employees must always turn on the tool. Automatic tracking relieves staff of this anxiety. Auto-time trackers remember their day's activity and start tracking when the system boots. This lets workers focus on their work. • Adhere to the principle of trust but verify. Although confidence is important, verifying employees' work is imperative to guarantee accuracy and quality. Perform periodic inspections or evaluations to appraise their performance and detect dishonesty.

About WorkTime: what we offer

Aren't you still using staff tracking software? WorkTime, a socially responsible employee monitoring solution, might be right what you've been looking for. Our products have been monitoring workers for 20+ years, and this is what we think: too much monitoring doesn't help the work process. WorkTime can help you find the right mix between keeping your employees private and getting them to work faster and better. You may check this success story from our customer who managed to raise the amount of time their employees spent working from 40% to 86% in just a few days! Still, you may wonder how things are going with cheating our monitoring software. Your employees should not worry as our system does not record sensitive information. In general, our approach does not make staff want to cheat tracking software.

Final Thoughts

People will always find ways to get around software that tracks their time, but companies don't have to put up with it. Businesses can easily stop this using the right tools and knowing the most common tricks. Companies can keep their workers from cheating on their time tracking tools by using WorkTime. It does not infringe on employee privacy, and it has tools like activity tracking, internet use monitoring, screen analysis, etc. We hope this blog post was useful for you! Don't forget to give WorkTime a try today to see how it can help your business! Happy tracking!

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